by Peter Aaron
If you’ve never caught the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, you’ve been missing one of the best live bands of all time. An unrelenting, precision-blasting rock ’n’ roll machine whose shows kick out a manic manna of infectious grooves, howling, preacher-like testifying, and deafening, diamond-hard riffs caked with squalling noise. So take note, newbies and long-time JSBX fans in the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, and Western Massachusetts: The blistering trio is set to torch Valentine’s in Albany next month.
The “blues” in the band’s name is a bit of an ironic red herring—no fedoras or constipated Stevie Ray worship for these youngish white boys. Rather, the New York threesome of crazed vocalist/guitarist/thereminist Jon Spencer, pummeling drummer Russell Simins, and stoically simmering guitarist Judah Bauer (Cat Power) is the flagship act of the punk blues movement that took hold in the ’90s. Following the demise of his previous outfit, influential scuzz-rock quartet Pussy Galore, Spencer formed the Blues Explosion in 1990 with ex-Honeymoon Killers members Simins and Bauer. Constant touring and early albums like Extra Width and Orange cemented the group’s tough-as-nails status, and subsequent releases add further dashes of hip-hop and electronica to the mix. After a few years off, the band reemerged last year with the mighty Meat + Bone.
Get a load of the trio layin’ it down on “Late Night with David Letterman” in January:
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion plays Valentine’s in Albany on July 9 at 7pm. Bloodshot Bill opens. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit Valentinesalbany.com.